It's not New Orleans, but Atlanta does Mardi Gras better than any city outside of the Mississippi River bayou. Fat Tuesday is Feb. 21 this year, and in bars and restaurants throughout the metro area, the countdown is on. It's a sign of the end of winter, so take advantage and celebrate like there's no tomorrow.
Price: $40 adult/$10 children younger than 12
Fat Tuesday's Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Parish is party central during Mardi Gras, and especially on Fat Tuesday. Its annual celebration kicks off at 11 a.m., and the music goes on all afternoon. It's all-you-can-eat with a selection of shrimp, sandwiches, a roasted pig and of course, red beans and rice. Cash bars featuring "Mardi Gras Lemonade" and oysters are scattered throughout the building. The day isn't complete without homemade king cake, so head on down to Parish Foods and party. This event is rain or shine.
Price: $5 cover
Fat Tuesday's Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ask anyone in Cobb County, this is one of the best restaurants in Atlanta. Chef Henry Chandler was recently voted best local chef in America, and even though he calls every day Mardi Gras, he goes all out for Fat Tuesday. A New Orleans-style buffet is offered upstairs, along with great music, but the full menue is available as well. Have an Abita beer and a piece of King Cake before you leave. It's great food, good times and lots of beads at Henry's.
Price: no cover
Fat Tuesday's Hours: 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Celebrate Fat Tuesday at Serpas with food, drink and a Mardi Gras atmosphere. The chef and staff are from New Orleans, so they know how to throw a party. Fat Tuesday boasts $10 menu items that including seafood gumbo, crawfish pie, and chicken and sausage jambalaya. King cake and other special desserts start at 5:30 p.m. as well. Serpas puts on an upscale party you don't want to miss.
Price: No cover
Masquerade Ball Hours: 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.
It's Mardi RA and this is the Masquerade Ball to beat — or be at. The ball will feature a costume contest with cash prizes, live music and a DJ. If $3 domestic beers and $2 sake doesn't do it, try $5 Cajun wings and $8 voodoo rolls. This party will go late into the night so don't miss out.
Price: No cover
Fat Tuesday's Hours: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
For a Bourbon Street dive bar experience for Fat Tuesday this year, the Big East Grille is the place. Run by a Cajun chef who thinks Fat Tuesday should be a national holiday, Big East boasts mouthwatering jambalya, gumbo and Abita beer from lunch through dinner. Let the Jaegar shots flow.
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Rick Limpert is a freelance writer/photographer in Atlanta. His work can be found at Examiner.com.
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